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A Place to Call Our Own (APTCOO)

The main aim of APTCOO's cafe, Flavour, is to work together with young people to further develop the Grow 2 Grow Projects, consolidating our growing, cooking and eating activities into related micro-businesses using our growing, social space and cafeteria to become a vehicle that will improve health and wellbeing and increase their independence, education and chances of employability in the future.

Added to this, APTCOO aim to assist young people in developing both the work and vocational experience which prepares them for adult life, and the social and emotional skills and techniques which are the foundation of a happy, productive and fulfilling life.

APTCOO wanted to develop the current kitchen and eating area into a commercial kitchen and cafeteria within a social enterprise non-profit service delivery model. To open a community cafe at APTCOO providing healthy refreshments for groups, training workshops and meetings. The cafe to be staffed by volunteers and will provide work placement opportunities for young people who want to gain experience and learn new skills. In addition to providing refreshments the cafe will be involved in:

  • Healthy eating promotions

  • Fun cooking demonstrations

  • Bake and take sessions

  • Bake off and taste off competitions

  • Cooking fresh, seasonal meals.


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Outcome

We have incorporated our community cafe, Flavour, within ethos of Grow 2 Grow. We have, and continue to, consolidate our growing, cooking and eating activities into related micro-businesses using our growing, social space and cafeteria which has now become a vehicle to improve the health and wellbeing of our children, young people and their families and, at the same time, increase independence, education and chances of employability in the future.
We have cultivated vitamin-rich, fresh and tasty crops in our own accessible garden in order to create an alternative to the unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles. Our children, young people and their families have felt safe in our nurturing environment where every contribution has been valued. Project activities have been enjoyable and fun and designed to embed opportunities to celebrate success and promote independent further achievement including building our own raised beds, planting and growing our own crops and harvesting the crops to make healthy meals. As you can see from our pictures included with this monitoring report, young children have helped in our garden cultivating and sowing crops and harvesting the results for use in our cafe! Making a positive contribution is of profound importance to everyone’s sense of personal dignity. Added to this, our community cafe project has been highly practical and defined by tangible results in both a physical sense and in real, measurable behaviour change. In addition to our garden we have a large allotment to produce fruit and vegetables to allow the cycle from "field to fork" to continue.
Over the past 18 months, APTCOO piloted a new group for young people transitioning into youth and adulthood called A Voice to Call Our Own (AVTCOO). The young people have been at the forefront of pioneering PBL within our cafe and have participated in successful, complementary projects including scientific research with the University of Nottingham and a chocolate project with Thornton’s.
Evaluation with the young people and their parent carers provided the evidence and appetite to expand this innovation of education into a curriculum of structured learning with service users defining the outcomes and values. The link between our young people’s interest in snacks and food, generally, has become equivalent to their consideration in what their meals contain with taste, nutrition and value for money, underpinned by our Grow 2 Grow ethos.

Carol Burkitt, CEO